Haymakers were thrown. And then five players were thrown out.
The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox engaged in a seventh-inning, bench-clearing fracas that resulted in the ejection of pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija for the Sox and pitcher Yordano Ventura, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and pitcher Edinson Volquez.
An easy Adam Eaton chopper to Royals starter Ventura somehow provoked the pitcher to shout what lip readers might interpret as “vacuum.” Eaton, and the White Sox, took exception. The benches cleared. The umpires, outnumbered by eager combatants, understandably failed to keep order. Players swung, and as baseball players are wont to do, mostly missed. A few fell and others fell upon them.
Royals need to ask themselves: Why is this happening repeatedly? Obviously, they’re not responsible for all of it — but yes, some of it.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 24, 2015
Royals locker room when they finally open the doors: pic.twitter.com/2JubgFo4CN
— James-Lemon Radler (@jwgeist) April 24, 2015
Ventura vs. Trout, Ventura vs. Lawrie, Ventura vs. Eaton, Royals vs. everybody. Are we sensing a trend? — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 24, 2015
Like most baseball brawls, the fight started long before the first punches flew. The Royals opened the season by sweeping the White Sox. Pitchers beaned six batters in that series. On Thursday night, Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura beaned White Sox stud first baseman Jose Abreu in the elbow in the fourth. Chris Sale responded by plunking Abreu’s counterpart on the Royals, star third baseman Mike Moustakas, in the arm an inning later. And then the dam broke free in the seventh.
The game, hardly an afterthought, lasted into the thirteenth, when the Royals rubbed salt in the wound by winning 3-2.
Kansas City improved to 12-4 atop the AL Central. Chicago dropped to 6-9.
The teams play three more games in Chicago this weekend.